Thursday, November 25, 2004

Pennsylvania and Slavic (and thus Eastern-churches) history
Way of life wanes for anthracite miners



St Mary’s (Assumption) Greek Catholic Church, Centralia, Pa., an old anthracite-mining town — I was here this past summer. The cornerstone, in Ukrainian, says it was built for Centralia in 1911.

You’ve got to admire them though it’s not a fun job: first the English and of course the Welsh did it in Pennsylvania’s mountains, then when they had enough the Irish were imported, and they loved the treatment they got so much they founded the Molly Maguires (a labour union or terrorists depending on who you talk to). When that happened the mining companies (who owned whole towns and kept their workers in debt — Tennessee Ernie Ford’s ‘I owe my soul to the company store’ was fact) got strike-breaking labour by importing the Slavs: Poles, Galician Ukrainians, Ruthenians, et al. (Which is partly why, in addition to Irish prejudice against the Byzantine Rite that caused the John Ireland/Alexis Toth schism, the Irish resented the Slavs.)


SS. Peter & Paul Orthodox Cemetery, Centralia

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